SALINE COUNTY, Ark. – Former Saline County Library Director Patty Hector is now running for a seat on the County Quorum Court – the same court that voted to allow County Judge Matt Brumley to fire her.
KARK 4 News has followed the months-long controversy centered on Hector and the county’s elected officials and their heated debates over relocating children’s books some found to be obscene for kids.
“I sat in a lot of quorum court meetings and I’m just very concerned,” Hector said Thursday. “I think the only way democracy works is when you do have a choice and not one party running everything.”
The controversy with Hector and county leaders first sparked following the passage of a new state law, Act 372, and then a county ordinance.
The law makes it illegal to position material in a library “that depicts or describes nudity, sexual conduct, sexual excitement, or sadomasochistic abuse,” to a minor. The resolution passed by the court on April 17 calls for the library to keep sexually explicit material out of the library children’s section. That resolution was non-binding but done in anticipation of the upcoming law, according to the county judge.
Hector argued that neither were about protecting kids, but attacking books focused on topics like race or LGBTQ+.
A few months later, on June 19, the court passed another ordinance to give the county judge oversight authority over the library. Following the passage of that ordinance, Hector was fired by County Judge Matt Brumley in October.
“I wish her well, but I do not support her for this,” 2nd Vice President for Saline County Republicans Mary Lewis said.
Saline County Republicans have been behind the effort to relocate certain books all along, and the committee has been at odds with Hector on the issue for months.
Now, the committee is rallying behind Hector’s Republican opponent, Karen Crowson.
“Her [Hector] values do not match that of this county,” Lewis said.
Hector is running as a Democrat and acknowledged that running in a county with a Republican majority could be an uphill battle. She said she is doing this to give others in the county a voice, who do not identify with the county Republican committee.
“Everyone deserves a voice, not just white Christians,” she said.
Hector added that she is running on issues like local government transparency, expanding broadband access in the county and First Amendment freedoms.
KARK 4 News reached out to her opponent for an interview, but she was unavailable for the story’s deadline.